From the Gazette, 1 October 1974...
From the Gazette, 1 November 1974...
And the review in the Gazette of 15 November 1974:
Romance, violence, espionage, humour - it's all there
- in the latest production by the Marton Parish Church Operatic and Dramatic
Their production is the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, "Princess Ida". It is refreshing to see a group tackling one of the lesser performed G and S works.
At the opening in the church hall last night the extremely professional cast showed how Gilbert and Sullivan can give a nudge and wink at today's society...
For a start the plot is about women's liberation. The "Germaine Greer" of the piece is Princess Ida, beautifully sung by Margaret Elkin who runs a university for liberationists.
The trouble is that she was betrothed as a baby to Hilarion (Donald Sheerin) who with true male chauvinism sets out to woo her.
He is aided in his quest by Cyril (Eric Gilfoy) and Florian (David Chard) gleeful at the thought of all those poor misguided university maidens and between them they make a merry threesome.
The plot thickens as they disguise themselves as women and there is an hilarious scene as they don their disguises.
In this scene Florian in particular shows a great gift for comedy and had the audience in stitches at his antics, which could so easily have been overplayed.
Eventually they are caught out and sentenced to death, to be saved only by the intervention of Princess Ida's father, King Gama - and it all ends happily...
It is a tribute to the producer Isabel Straughton, that such a complicated plot just flows along, and the stage direction of the dances and the fight add the final gloss to a really polished production.
King Hildebrand (Michael Hilton), Hilarion's father, strides majestically about the stage and there is a fine characterisation of the grumpy King Gama by John Burns.
Special mention must also go to his three sons, played by Conrad Pate, Philip Walsh and Jim Millard, who provide some of the comic highlights of the show every time they clatter on to the stage in their armour.
The main parts are strongly supported by those of Lady Blanche (Marilyn Wilson) as a convincing battleaxe of a woman, Lady Psyche (Bebe Hilton) and Melissa (Tina Bywater).
The musical director is Robert Atherton and the show is as easy on the eye as the ear with costumes and scenery worthy of any professional group.
The opera continues until Saturday. - J.L.G.